My muse was savagely beaten to within an inch of its life one night and is making a very slow recovery; Ideas are slowly trickling in. There has been a lot of rather traumatic personal drama happening for me this year and I am slowly working through this so please don't give me a hard time about this chapter and lack of updating. I have managed to get this chapter finished and just over 4000 words.
My beta was unreachable so I have posted this without it being betaed.
Thanks for the reviews! Please review again.
Mya Zabini's P.O.V.
"So are you both clear on the plan for tonight?"
"Yes, don't worry we won't let you down. We know exactly what we have to do." With our uncle reassured of our decision for the encounter that we were going to have with the dark lord, we were finally permitted to leave his chambers. The letter, as I had come to refer to it as, had arrived two days previous; since then so many plans had been made that you couldn't blame us if we became confused. Our parents are so worried about Blaise and I that they have sent us protection amulets, not that they would do us much good once the meeting began. I was giving the impression that I was cool, calm and unaffected by the upcoming events but inside I was petrified; not only did I have to swear allegiance to the dark side but I had to lie to basically everyone, although it is ultimately for the greater good.
"Are you okay?" Blaise was watching my face closely as we began along the dark passage way that lead to my common room.
"Not at the moment but I'm sure that I will be, how about you?" Blaise is always concerned about how I'm doing and hardly gives himself a second thought.
"I'm the same as you, we're both in a difficult situation and we have no choice but to keep going until we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever comes will come and we can only try our best to get through it." Looking at me with wisdom beyond his years he continued his thought. "At least when we reach that light we will know who is truly loyal to us, no matter what." All I could do was nod and send him a smile. He is saying what I can't quite voice, although I notice that he always says when we get through this, not if. I doubt that I'm the only one whose mind is wandering to that thought. The threat of war is no longer on the horizon it is directly above it, pressuring us into action and choosing sides. I have picked whom I am loyal too but the outcomes of this choice I will not be fully aware of until I am in the thick of war, hopefully with my family and friends as comrades.
"Blaise, are you scared?" I blurted out at him. I don't even know why I decided to voice that thought. Gawking at me like I had several just grown another head his mouth dropped open and he stopped walking.
"Are you serious Mya? Of course I'm scared! I would be an idiot if I weren't. You and I have both just had the facts of out situation laid out to us; we were given options and we've made our decision based purely on the facts and our gut instincts. You know as well as I do what will happen too us when the war ends. It all depends on which side we align out allegiances to; we know the reality that we will face at the end. If we loose then I shall be hoping that my death, as well as yours, is a quick one." Even after hearing it from my uncle and now from my brother I still can't quite comprehend the fact that my death could happen so soon in life; although I don't think that many people my age would also think about their death while still attending school. "Just remember Mya, no matter what you have me and Harry by your side. Hopefully though you'll be the one keeping us out of danger instead of us looking out for you." That bought a smile to my face; pulling me into a one armed hug we continued our walk down the corridor. It gave me a strange comforting feeling knowing that I wasn't the only one who was scared witless. "So Mya, how is life living with Draco?"
Biting my lip I tried to think of the best answer that I could give, incredibly difficult considering the fact that I wasn't really sure.
"Umm well it's alright so far, I haven't really been there a lot when he is. I don't think that we're going to have many problems, which is what I was afraid of."
"Draco isn't too bad to live with; I think that you two will get along well because you share so much in common. If you two actually become friends then that would be really great, even though the thought of it is still rather odd."
"Aww thanks for that big brother; I'm glad that I have your approval for that."
"Not that you need it of course but do you get why I say that?"
"Yeah, don't worry Blaise. I won't go nuts at you for miss-phrasing something, just be careful next time because you only get one pass on that."
"Okay then loving sister." He said jokingly. By now we had reached my common room entrance, pausing for a moment I turned back to face Blaise.
"Not a word to Draco remember although you want to trust him and you think he will align his allegiance to our side you do not know that for certain. If you were to say anything to him and he is loyal to Voldemort then that could be our downfall." Nodding at me I knew that Blaise acknowledged the danger which we were in and the threat that we could face from even our closest friends, I am permitted to say anything to any of my friends. Harry of course will understand if I do not voice anything to him but he will know where my loyalties lie. Whispering the password we were granted entrance.
"Hey Draco, how are you mate?" Blaise asked, not showing even a hint of what we had been discussing or contemplating.
"I'm good, you?"
"What have you two been doing? What did the Professor want? I was beginning to wonder if something bad had happened."
"Oh it was just about that letter, he wanted to personally congratulate us and make sure that we were clear on what to expect tonight." I stated as I flopped onto one of the armchairs in the common room. "Have you heard from your parents regarding this evening?"
"Yes but only a note expressing their satisfaction that I received a letter, I really don't understand why they would bother. I mean basically everyone in Slytherin received a letter, it was my birthright that I would someday be asked to join." Draco was still avoiding my eyes, since the incident earlier in the day that Blaise had interrupted. I'm actually not sure if it was Draco caught in the moment or if there was something more to it, I hope that there is more to it.
"Well its good that they still acknowledged, wouldn't you have been annoyed if you hadn't received anything?"
"Don't know. Anyway, are your parents going to be there tonight?"
"Yes, we believe so. Uncle is the one that is taking us all there tonight and he said that our parents were going to try and talk to us at some point before or after. Are your parents going to be there?" Blaise enquired.
"I know that father will, he is always at these types of events." Draco practically sneered that sentence. "Mother, however, may not attend. I don't think that she really cares for the initiations."
"I didn't know that people could opt out of attending." I said, I thought that not attending would be a sign of disrespect.
"Well mother was never initiated." At my rather baffled face Draco began to explain. "Mother swore her loyalty but never received the mark, which was standard practice then. Now days though he is seeing everyone as equal and has no problems with giving witches the dark mark, which I suppose some witches would like as it shows equality. I don't know if it's because he needs as many initiated followers as possible or because he actually believes in equality, but there aren't many initiated witches. Most of the witches are in fact just married to death eaters but had to swear alliance in order to be able to marry. The witches, like my mother, have the choice in what events they attend; they are not marked by the dark mark and therefore don't get called to any meetings."
"Wow, nothing in the wizarding world seems to surprise me anymore. It does make sense though, eliminates the possibility of a witch turning on her husband and reporting him to the ministry because she herself would also be arrested. It also takes away the secrecy that they would otherwise have over the issue. It also would lower the number of people that the ministry could recruit for their side and I suppose if they had a job in the ministry they would also be used as spy's, am I correct?"
"I would guess so, I haven't actually thought of that factor, makes sense though. In fact they could even be used to recruit others to our side." I noticed that Draco had said 'our side' not dark side; maybe his allegiance is already aligned.
"Well I don't know about you two but I've got a lot of work to get done before tonight. I don't suppose I would be able to get Dumbledore to sign an excuse note saying, 'Sorry but I was swearing my allegiance to the dark lord and could finish my essays'."
"I would love to see his face if you tried that though Mya. Well since I'm not so fortunate as to live here then I'm going to head back to my common room. Do you want to go to the meeting spot as a group tonight?" I nodded at him and so did Draco. "Okay then, how about if I come back here about half seven?"
"That's fine, see you then." My brother turned and exited, Draco and I now were alone, awkward silence enveloped us instantly.
"About earlier…." I began.
"Let's just forget about it alright?" Draco said to me.
"No Draco, I'm not going to forget about it, I don't want to forget about it."
"What do you mean?" He seemed pretty surprised.
"I want to finish what we started earlier; I want to see what can happen. Don't you?"
"Uhhhh….." He couldn't finish the sentence; he didn't seem to know what he wanted to say.
"Do you like me Draco?"
"Well yeah, I mean your Blaise's sister and you're really good at quidditch."
"Not in that way, I mean do you like me at all? Do you like me as a person, not what I do or who I'm related too?"
"I don't know…" Boys could be so stupid by their lack of knowing what they wanted.
"Well if you figure it out soon then let me know, if not then you've lost your chance." Standing up I decided to go and hide away from him in my room.
Watching Mya storm up the stairs I felt rotten; I wanted to scream at her that I liked her but I don't want to say it to her. Everyone in my life that I hold close is in danger for the mere fact of knowing me. Logically I know that now because of the letters that she is most likely going to be in the same position as me, she is from a noble family. I don't know for sure what it is that attracts me to her but to me she is the most beautiful example of perfection. She was not just beautiful on the outside but also on the inside. She is always kind to people and she has accepted her new life and family with such a sense of grace. Although her new family meant a new fate for her she realises that what is going to happen will happen.
Even though her family abandoned her because of the dark lord's fear of her power he is still willing to have her as a follower, I still can't understand fully why she is willing to become a follower. I wonder why it is that her family stayed loyal even after what he ordered them to do, why didn't they go into hiding or change allegiances. If I had been ordered dead by him and then he later asked me to join then I would most likely tell him to get stuffed, however, it would most likely result in my death if I did that. I suppose it must depend on who you are as a person and you're ability make a logical decision and basically ordering your own death is not logical. Letting out a sigh and realising that I couldn't say anything to her until I knew what I wanted and what I was willing to risk in order to obtain it. If I make any move on Mya without the intention of developing something more meaningful then both Blaise and Harry will kick my ass; the thought of that made me shudder with a tinge of fear. Mya had had the right idea about tonight; we weren't going to have time to do our homework; as Mya said, no professor will accept 'sorry the dark lord kept me late at a meeting'.
Trying to ignore all of these thoughts that were flying through my head I turned on the CD player which Mya had put in my room and charmed to work. Soon the sweet sounds of All-American Rejects song 'Swing swing' soon filled the room and led my mind away from the troubling thoughts.
Later that evening
Blaise, Mya and myself met with the other recruits before the Professor showed up, I could feel my nerves becoming anxious, I don't know why because this is my destiny, the life which has been planned out for me since my conception. It seemed to be a built in section of the Malfoy family tree that there is always a dark lord for us to serve. I often wonder why it is that even as such a powerful family in the wizarding world we are never the ones in charge. Mya and I stayed in our common room each in our own rooms as to avoid talking to each other; things were still rather difficult between us. I want to be with her but there are so many reasons that I shouldn't, right now however I shouldn't be focusing on this. This meeting tonight is so important and requires my full attention. Blaise had arrived about ten minutes ago, so we all came to the common room and he knows that something is up, glancing between us both he shot me some questioning glances. This really isn't time for teenage angst, we all should be focusing on the life changing meeting which is going to commence soon.
"Are you both ready to head off?" Mya asked us, visibly tense with a firm grip on her wand.
"I don't think that I'll ever be ready but I suppose that won't get me out of the meeting, so I'll lie and say yes for now I am ready." Thank Merlin Blaise is as nervous as myself; he is the same situation as me, having been raised since birth with his path for the dark side designated for him.
"Best head off then." Pulling myself up from the couch I began to head for the door, Mya and Blaise straight behind me. It seemed that we all just wanted this night to be over.
P.O.V. Anonymous Death Eater
There is a lot more things I would rather be doing at the moment; however I am currently ankle deep in mud at a large meeting for the followers of Lord Voldemort. Tonight we were apparently having more followers added, this bunch being all students currently still at school. I doubt that they know what they are getting themselves into or that they are particularly talented, I believe that most of them are the children of current death eaters. Glancing around in the hope of recognising a friend I realised quickly that it was pointless, we are all dressed in 'formal' attire. This consists of black robes, black hat and a white mask that looked like the facial part of a human skull; we had to wear this when in situations where we weren't to be recognisable. The loyalty of these new recruits was not certain and gatherings like this were also prime targets for attacks from either The Order of the Phoenix or the Ministry of Magic. Although, thanks to the death eaters who wielded such prominent status in not only the community, but also in the Ministry itself we were fairly protected from attack when gathering for meetings. There was about a hundred death eaters gathered currently; overall I have no idea how many death eaters there are, I suppose its best kept secret so when we ultimately have the final battle no one knows how many to expect. It is the same with The Order of the Phoenix, we don't know about how many members they have.
Lord Voldemort always preferred the worst places to hold a meeting, always dark, muddy and with so many places for someone to hide which meant that you always had to be alert in case of an attack. I think its part of how he maintains the sense of being so powerful when holding a meeting; after all it's rather difficult to be evil when chairing a meeting.
With a slight pop a large group of people arrived all dressed in black robes, standing in the middle of them was Professor Snape, these must be the soon to be new members. They all glanced around before quickly pulling their hoods over their heads, all apart from three of them. One with white blond hair and a rather arrogant look on his face and a couple who were identical in looks with jet-black hair. Judging from the rather aristocratic looks and the sense of belonging that practically oozed off them, I would guess that they are the children of very high ranking death eaters.
"Welcome my loyal servants to tonight's gathering, we are admitting more members who, like yourselves, wish to serve me and the dark side. Severus, bring them forward." Lord Voldemort had seemingly appeared out of no where and begun the meeting. Professor Snape practically herded the students towards the core of the group where lord Voldemort was waiting for them.
"You have all come here tonight because I requested your presence in my army which is going to soon rule the wizarding world. If you hold any doubts about joining me in my crusade then say so now, for it is the only opportunity which you have to do so and leave mainly in one piece." No one spoke, a few of the students' faces flickered but no one gave any indication of wishing to leave. "Tonight I shall test your loyalty and dedication to my cause. You shall also receive a mark to indicate that you belong to this cause and me; it is only going to be used on you while you remain at Hogwarts under Dumbledore. Let us begin." Pointing to one of the students at the front they began to move towards him, and bent to their knees before him. "Look me in the eyes." Voldemort commanded of the young man instantly his face snapped up and his whole body became tense. Voldemort was obviously performing occlumency to read his mind and test his loyalty, I'm sure that those tested tonight will not know what to expect or how to guard their mind. How many of these students will have encountered occlumency before and have knowledge on what is happening to them.
"Ahhhh, very good Goyle. You have shown your loyalty and dedication to this cause. I'm going to vary the location of the marks, where would it be less visible on you?" Voldemort practically hissed to the young recruit who was currently pulling his left pant leg up to his knee. Without hesitation Voldemort put his wand to the boys shin and the smell of burning flesh filled the air as this boy was marked as a follower of Lord Voldemort, only death will part him from this fate. The students all knelt before my lord and received the mark in various places on their body, finally after the last student rose from the ground and returned to their group the meeting continued.
"To prove your complete devotion to me you shall wear no mask, until you are a true death eater you shall show your face in all battles. If you show no fear of being discovered then you should pass the ultimate test of loyalty easily. Tonight you shall return to your school, keep your eyes sharp for any information that many be beneficial to our fight. When your mark begins to burn find somewhere that you can apparate from, put your wand to your mark and you shall be bought to our meeting place, wherever that may be and which ever situation you arrive too. Severus take the students back to school and assure that they make it back onto the grounds without duress. I wish for the young Miss Zabini to remain behind, you will return to transport her back when I call you."
"As you wish my lord." Severus said as he drew away back to the students. While the young witch in question moved away from the group and towards the gathering of death eaters.
Severus Snape P.O.V.
My mind was spinning with the reasons that Voldemort would select Mya to stay behind. Was it because of her family, her friends, because she was female or another punishment for what her family did to save her life? I could feel the heavy gaze of both Blaise and my brother-in-law, Michael, as I tried to keep my face and attitude neutral. Hopefully Michael will remain until I return to keep an eye on Mya. Re-activating the port key the students and I were pulled from the meeting and returned to the school.
"You are all to return to your dorm rooms, if anyone detains you tell them that you were in detention with me. Go in groups of five and do not draw attention to yourselves otherwise you will be in detention with me." Pointing to five students I indicated that they should leave. Stepping away from the group and pulling an obvious frantic Blaise away with me, I had to say something to the poor boy to try and calm him down.
"What the hell does he want with Mya? What does he have to do with her that we can't be present for?" He was desperate for news of his sister. A sudden pop behind us had me drawing my wand and spinning to attack the new arrival. Michael stood there with his own wand drawn.
"He dismissed us all, it's just him, Mya and that rat; I think that they have gone to his mansion. What the hell does he want my little girl for?" Michael was in a worse state than Blaise; he has more of an insight to Voldemort and the evil workings of his mind. "What will I tell Lizzie?"
"You five there, head up to the school. Calm down Michael; do not worry about what you will tell my sister. She will be returned fine and will tell us what has taken place. She is a valuable asset to him now and he knows it. He is most likely instructing her to spy on Potter and Dumbledore." I placed my wand hand onto his shoulder; I was tempted cast a calming charm on him so best to remove the temptation. "We are unable to do anything presently, we must simply wait. He won't physically harm her, he isn't stupid enough to risk turning her to the good side, and he knows that she is a valuable asset to have. She is intelligent witch both sides want; he may even be trying to tempt her further to his side."
"Yes, yes you're right. I just don't sit well with the thought of him alone with her without having prepared her more. Does she know what he could possibly do?"
"Of course she knows what he is capable of; she has been confronted with him and other death eaters before. As much as I hate to admit it her years with the Potter boy have prepared her well for the current situation. I just hope that she doesn't mouth off to him or show her Gryffindor traits too much." With that said all we could do was wait until my mark began to burn and provided us with her location.